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Entrepreneurial Spotlight: SoundHealth

SoundHealth's Mike Miller making a splash in medical innovation.

SoundHealth’s Mike Miller making a splash in medical innovation.

Editor’s Note: At YourDelrayBoca.com we take pride in shining a spotlight on local entrepreneurs. Today, we introduce you to SoundHealth and its founder Michael Miller.

The medical innovation landscape is littered with valuable products that have not and may never make it to market. And with these failures, the general public suffers because it never had the opportunity to benefit from these innovations.

Such is the dilemma of the thousands of products being developed by inventors, individuals who simply don’t have the knowledge, finances, or connections to bring these innovations to market.

Michael Miller, founder of a Boca Raton-based “medical innovation agency”, was one of the keynote speakers at the Insight Innovation Exchange Health (IIEX) Conference in Philadelphia recently.

His firm, SoundHealth, combines the expertise of the inventors, the missions of funding foundations, and resources of research institutions to develop what is essentially a market-ready medical solution for presentation to potential purchasers of the product.

Miller was joined on the panel by executives from InCrowd, AstraZeneca, and Merck.

“Getting a product to market can be a time-consuming and cumbersome exercise,” said Miller. “Quite frankly most inventors simply don’t have the ‘muscle’ to usher a product through the various stages of development. And, even if they have a mature product, they don’t have the knowledge of how to market these products directly to the consumer.”

Miller explained that inventors must recognize that there is a new model, one that involves looking for an “exit strategy” before the product gets to market.

“Too often, innovators spend too much money and time developing a product, and they run out of capital, can’t secure approvals, can’t afford manufacturing, and can’t raise more capital,” he said. “The unfortunate reality is that these products die on the vine. And, another product sits on the shelf.

“This is a vicious cycle in the medical innovation world. The real tragedy is two-fold. First the people that could benefit from these products don’t get the opportunity to use them, and second the innovators don’t get to benefit financially from their creations.”

SoundHealth streamlines the process of moving these medical innovations from “bench to bed- seamlessly”.

“All we ask is that products be relatively mature,” said Miller during his presentation. “They can’t be a concept written on a napkin. We then consider which distribution outlets (i.e. medical device, pharmaceutical, biotech, etc.) may want to purchase it following a conditional evaluation. That is what we mean by working backwards from the exit strategy.”

Through relationships with various funding organizations and research & development entities, SoundHealth is able to deliver market-ready products to purchasing and distribution firms.

“Our process minimizes the need for inventors to raise capital, hire lots of people and spend time lost in all the drama” he said. “It’s our business to take early stage innovations, and working with the innovators, rapidly finish it to the point it’s ready for commercialization.

The interest in SoundHealth’s model was evident at the IIEX conference.

“One of the major concerns of medical innovators who were there was getting the product to market,” said Miller. “We are now in the process of evaluating a number of products from the conference, and we’re confident that several will become part of our growing portfolio.

“We also have the attention of the distribution and manufacturers who are continually seeking the next great medical innovation.”

One key feature to this unique business model is, that everyone involved benefits.

“The inventor earns significant money through the ultimate sale,” said Miller. “Funding organizations support and sponsor medical innovation that helps their constituents. Research institutions are being funded to conduct research. And, distribution and manufacturing companies receive the latest medical innovation that may save lives while improving their bottom lines.”

Miller added that many of the inventors are physicians who are developing products as a way to enhance their medical practices or even phase out of their practice altogether with the hopes of retiring.

“Some are inventing products directly related to their medical expertise,” said Miller. “They have a passion for medicine and their patients’ well-being and this is just another way for them to contribute, all while pursuing the American dream of making a significant amount of money.”

About SoundHealth:

Boca Raton based SoundHealth, founded in 2010 (www.sound-health.org) is a “medical innovation agency” that expedites the process of delivering medical device, pharmaceutical, and biotech innovation to the marketplace. SoundHealth’s unique process combines the expertise of inventors, funding organizations, and research institutions, which provide commercial-ready products to distribution/marketing companies.

Lynn Takes Bold Step

Lynn University makes a bold bet.

Lynn University makes a bold bet.

Lynn University has announced its innovative iPad-powered online bachelor’s degree program will be called iLynn.

Beginning in fall 2015, the new program will offer a private university experience for a state university price. iLynn is one of two initiatives Lynn highlighted during eMerge Americas during the conference May 1 through May 5 in Miami.

 

“Technology has enabled us to reimagine college,” said Lynn President Kevin M. Ross. “We’ve been using iPads on our campus to improve student engagement and reduce the cost of traditional textbooks by up to 95 percent. Now, we’re excited to announce that we are using that same mobile technology in our iLynn program to reduce the cost of tuition by 20 percent.”

 

The iLynn program empowers adult students with work, family and other obligations to pursue their undergraduate degrees online, on campus or both. The program also offers accelerated terms, easy transfer of college and certified work experience credits and professional coaching for every student. Starting at $35,400 ($8,850 per year), iLynn is as affordable as the average state university tuition, but with a more personalized education, small class sizes and unlimited access to next-generation collaboration tools.

 

The school is also launching Lynn University Digital Press, a digital publisher of scholarly works designed for iPad- and iTunes U-enabled academic curricula.

 

“Lynn’s digital press is the first of its kind in South Florida,” said Chris Boniforti, Lynn’s CIO. “The model of having faculty write and create the texts they use in class is an innovation that not only reduces textbook costs for students, but also increases faculty and student engagement with the content.”

 

To date, the university has created 24 multi-touch books that have helped reduce the cost of traditional textbooks. Another dozen works are underway, including a contribution by Presidential Fellow James Guthrie, who will address the field of educational leadership.

 

The university anticipates the digital press will also significantly enhance its sustainability efforts by replacing traditional printing, shipping and inventory practices with immediate access to digital content.

 

During the second annual eMerge Americas conference, President Ross delivered opening remarks at the 1111 Party and Boniforti participated in the EdTech Disruption of Education panel. The Lynn Admission team demonstrated the university’s award-winning iPad-powered curriculum during the conference exhibit on May 4 and 5.

One Of A Kind Deal For FAU

FAU, Max Planck and Scripps are making history

FAU, Max Planck and Scripps are making history

One of Florida’s leading public research universities and two of the world’s premier research institutions will create one-of-a-kind education programs that will attract the best and brightest students to Palm Beach County, and transform Florida Atlantic University’s John D. MacArthur Campus in Jupiter into a hub of scientific inquiry, innovation and economic development.

FAU, and the globally acclaimed Max Planck Florida Institute and The Scripps Research Institute, will build on existing relationships to further scientific discovery and education through shared resources and facilities.

The three institutions will provide undergraduate and graduate students the unprecedented opportunity to enroll in unique degree programs in collaboration with Max Planck and Scripps Florida at the MacArthur Campus.

The initiative will allow students to work and study alongside some of the world’s leading scientific researchers as part of their degree programs, while undergraduate research projects will be mentored by these same scientists.

The Institutes will collaborate to develop premier STEM programs — Science, Technology, Engineering, Math — and combine FAU Jupiter’s existing strengths in STEM areas, with support from the arts, to create a leading STEAM initiative.

FAU President John Kelly said the alliance will help cure diseases, develop drugs, educate students and generate jobs. FAU’s economic impact on Florida’s economy during 2010-2011, the most recently available data, was $6.3 billion. This initiative creates unique opportunities for FAU’s colleges of science, medicine, and engineering and computer science to greatly increase that number, Kelly said.

“This initiative comes from the core of economic development,” Kelly said. “FAU, Max Planck and Scripps will solve real-world problems and take strides to improve human health.

“We will create the knowledge economy of the future,” he said. “Moreover, we will provide students unique scientific research programs that will be the envy of the world.”

A shared facilities environment will provide students access to state-of-the-art scientific equipment. Max Planck and Scripps Florida researchers will have access to FAU faculty, teaching space, and research equipment.

James Paulson, acting president and CEO of The Scripps Research Institute, said the Scripps mission is to build a world-class biomedical research presence in Florida for the benefit of human health and to train the next generation of scientists.

“We believe this new agreement strengthens our existing collaboration with FAU and the Max Planck Institute and enables us to work more closely with our local partners to achieve these critical goals,” Paulson said.

David Fitzpatrick, CEO and scientific director at Max Planck, said, importantly, the collaboration will increase research funding in areas of common interest. The Max Planck Florida Institute’s research focus is neuroscience, specifically, gaining insights into brain circuitry. The institute utilizes some of the world’s most advanced technologies in brain research.

“Combining our resources makes this collaboration a potent force in the scientific and healthcare fields,” Fitzpatrick said. “The advances we can take in many important research areas will be significant.

“Together, FAU, Max Planck and Scripps will train the scientific leaders of tomorrow,” he said.

FAU Med School Gets Record Number of Admissions

 

FAU Med School soaring.

FAU Med School soaring.

Nearly four years since its inception, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at FAU has received a record-breaking 4,370 applications for 64 positions for the incoming class of 2015. The College also received 4,739 applications for 36 positions in the University’s first residency program in internal medicine. These numbers represent a 35 percent increase in medical school applications from last year, and a 22 percent increase in applications for the residency program from the previous year.

 

“The response we have received from prospective applicants to our medical school and internal medicine residency program is outstanding and truly speaks to the quality of our programs in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine and our hospital partners in the FAU Graduate Medical Education Consortium,” said David J. Bjorkman, M.D., M.S.P.H., dean and executive director of medical affairs in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine.

 

Demographics of the applicants for the M.D. program show that 52 percent are Florida residents (nearly half of these applicants are from South Florida) and 48 percent are from out-of-state. Fifty-four percent are male and 46 percent are female. Qualified students from groups currently underrepresented in medicine are included in the applicant pool—20 percent are Asian/Asian Indian; 16 percent are Hispanic; and 12 percent are African/American. The average Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is 33.5 with a GPA of 3.8.

 

“This has been a stellar year for our new medical school and we are delighted to have so many qualified candidates apply to our unique and personalized medical education program,” said Betty Monfort, assistant dean of admissions in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine. “The high volume of applications we have received indicates that there is a great demand for a high-quality state medical school in this region.”

 

The first class of 36 residents in FAU’s internal medicine residency program began last June. Boca Raton Regional Hospital is the primary site for the program with participation from Bethesda Hospital East and Delray Medical Center, three of the five hospitals participating in the Graduate Medical Consortium (GME) supporting FAU residency programs. The other two participating hospitals in FAU’s GME Consortium are St. Mary’s Medical Center and West Boca Medical Center.

 

 

Woodfield Launches Health Challenge

Wellness @ Woodfield.

Wellness @ Woodfield.

 Relying on the concept that healthy employees are excellent employees, Woodfield Country Club in Boca Raton recently started its year-long “Wellness Challenge,” a fun and entertaining event that places a premium on health, wellness, and physical fitness.

Woodfield Country Club is an active country club community that encourages its residents to be healthy and physically fit,” said Eben Molloy, general manager. “It stands to reason that we would have the same philosophy when it comes to our employees, and it’s gratifying to see that we are helping employees make positive physical changes to their health. ”
Based on results from its Annual Employee Survey, the Club created a comprehensive wellness program to encourage employees to live a healthier lifestyle.  From personalized nutrition counseling to healthy cooking classes, employees are focusing on making healthy lifestyle changes both at work and at home.
Through a series of fun and entertaining programming, employees can qualify for a variety of awards with the Grand Prize being $500 or 40 hours of paid time off. But even more important is the fellowship and teamwork that is being fostered among Woodfield employees as a result of this program.
“Our research indicates that organizations that promote healthy lifestyles among their staffs have fewer sick days, higher employee evaluations, and less turnover,” added Molloy. “This type of program is a win/win for the employees and for the members and residents of Woodfield Country Club. The bottom line is that we care about our employees and want them to excel professionally and physically.”
The programming is divided into three categories, including nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle. Employees receive points for participation within these areas. Some of the activities include:
·        Attend a healthy cooking class at Woodfield
·        Meet one-on-one with Woodfield’s registered nutritionist
·        Plant your own garden
·        Join a fitness club
·        Participate in Woodfield’s 5K Employee Run
·        Tour Boca Raton Regional Hospital’s MammoVan
·        Schedule an annual physical
·        Volunteer in your community 
 “This program is fostering a wide range of other benefits,” noted Molloy. “The activities – such as the 5K run and the softball games —  inspire team building among employees and allows them to socialize with fellow workers in other departments. As the year-long program and activities continue, we’re seeing increased camaraderie among employees which translates into better service to our members.”
As part of the program, Woodfield also hosted an “Employee Wellness Expo” that featured a variety of local programs and vendors who endorse healthy living. Dentists, health clubs, insurance agencies, and physical therapists were among those with booths at the expo.
In addition to these activities, Woodfield also scheduled a “Community Services Expo”, an event that educated employees on a wide range of local programs and resources, including:
·        Credit counseling
·        Public speaking
·        Adult education
·        Tuition planning
·        Child care resources
 
About Woodfield Country Club
Woodfield Country Club is a family-oriented social and recreational full-service equity country club featuring a wide range of residential selections and world-class, resort-style amenities.
The country club features an 18-hole championship golf course, nationally recognized tennis program, a fitness and salon/spa complex, and an array of casual and fine dining opportunities. In addition, Woodfield is the recipient of several of the highest designations in the country club industry, including Platinum Club of America, America’s Healthiest Clubs and Distinguished Emerald Club of the World. They are presented by country club trade organizations.
For more information on Woodfield Country Club, visit www.woodfield.org or call 561-994-5203

AVDA Expands

From left: Ann Vesgo,Bill Branning, Pam O'Brien, Commissioner Steven Abrams and Jean Magrella break ground.

From left: Ann Vesgo,Bill Branning, Pam O’Brien, Commissioner Steven Abrams and Jean Magrella break ground.

With domestic violence in the news these days…we thought we’d share what’s happening on the local front.

AVDA ((www.avdaonline.org) broke ground on an enlarged domestic violence shelter last week.

The existing shelter, which was in a 60-year-old building, has been torn down to ready the site for a new building that will be able to house 43 people.  The new building will increase capacity by an additional 18 beds.  The shelter is in an undisclosed location, for the safety of residents. In order to complete the building, $300,000 must be raised by March of 2015.

 

In 2013, Delray based AVDA was selected to be one of 11 certified domestic violence centers in the state to receive part of a special allocation of funds to help state-certified domestic violence centers expand their shelter capacity.   State funding will provide approximately 50% of the cost of the project, but the other 50% must be raised by the organization by the May, 2015 deadline, in order to keep state funding.  Thus far, of the $1.2 million goal, over $900,000 has been raised.

 

“AVDA’s Rebuilding Lives Renewing Hope Campaign is all about listening to the needs of those we serve and the community.  We are addressing a critical and immediate need with this campaign,” Pam O’Brien, President and CEO of AVDA said.  “AVDA is the only domestic violence program with extended shelter services in Palm Beach County.”

 

Major donations thus far include a donation of stock for $250,000 by an anonymous donor as well as numerous private donations and a challenge donation of $50,000 from a private family foundation.

 

Currently, AVDA shelters over 400 people and provides help to over 8,600 people annually.  It is the 5th largest shelter in the state of Florida, in terms of capacity and is one of the very few shelters with comprehensive services, including helping survivors provide for themselves once they leave the shelter, and providing school wellness checks and shots for children at the shelter.

 

The organization’s mission is to promote violence-free relationships and social change by offering alternative choices to end violence and domestic abuse.

 

AVDA provides a Community of Hope through its state-certified domestic violence center that offers a comprehensive array of services for all victims of domestic violence including; a 24 hour crisis hotline, emergency and transitional housing, advocacy, counseling and support to help people live violence-free and self-sufficient lives. AVDA also works throughout the community to educate and engage people of all ages in our commitment to prevent violence.

 

AVDA’s Health and Wellness program offers group trainings on matters concerning health, nutrition and exercise. In collaboration with FAU School of Nursing, a nurse-practitioner is on-site monthly to provide individuals physical medical care consultations, including vaccinations for residents.  Residents in the shelter can also participate in Anne’s STEPS, a nationally recognized economic empowerment program to help residents become financially self-sufficient.

 

In addition, AVDA offers training to healthcare professionals, law enforcement personnel, social services agencies, employers and community groups on the topic of domestic violence.  Each training or talk is tailored specifically to the needs of the group or organization.

 

AVDA has perfect audits for the past eleven years and is certified by Nonprofits First.

 

For more information about AVDA’s services, please visit www.avdaonline.org or call (561) 265-3797.

FAU Foundation Thanks Schmidt Foundation

FAU is making some major moves. The Owls just received the largest gift in school history.

FAU is making some major moves. The Owls just received the largest gift in school history.

We are pleased to announce that today FAU received a gift of $16 million from the Schmidt Family Foundation, the largest single gift in Florida Atlantic’s history. The Schmidt Family Foundation’s generosity will help create a national model of academic excellence in athletics to attract the nation’s top coaches and student athletes to FAU.

The Schmidt Family Complex for Academic and Athletic Excellence, which will be constructed adjacent to FAU Stadium, will play a central role in elevating FAU’s academic standing and will benefit students in all academic programs, including those not associated with athletics. In addition to a student-athlete academic and leadership center, the state-of-the-art facilities may include strength and conditioning, sports medicine, and health and wellness centers, and an indoor training facility.

This initiative exemplifies FAU’s drive to enhance its stature and visibility nationally and internationally.

The Schmidt Family Foundation has shown a far-reaching, visionary commitment to FAU’s continued growth. Other major gifts from the Schmidt Family Foundation have benefited the colleges of Arts and Letters, Science, Medicine, Nursing, and Engineering and Computer Science.

Many thanks to Dick and Barb Schmidt and the Schmidt Family Foundation
for this most generous investment in the future of FAU.

Catch the Surf Exhibit in Delray

The Surfing History Project tells the story of a beached freighter which ran aground in Riviera Beach in the 60s and created perfect breaks.

The Surfing History Project tells the story of a beached freighter which ran aground in Riviera Beach in the 60s and created perfect breaks.

Whether you love surfing or just enjoy local history, we highly recommend that you visit the Cason Cottage Museum this holiday season and take in the pleasures of “The Surfing History Project.”

The exhibit runs through Dec. 27 (closed Christmas Day) on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Admission is $5 and is well worth it.

The exhibit spans two buildings at the Delray Beach Historical Society, 111 N. Swinton Ave., and chances are you can get a personal tour from a local surfing legend. Many local surfers are hanging out at the exhibit to add color commentary.

We were fortunate to meet Tom Warnke, just crowned East Coast Champion in his age group, as our tour guide.

Tom has had a lifelong passion for surfing and is an eloquent spokesman for the sport’s rich history in Florida.

As we admired beautiful boards from the 50s, 60s and 70s, we got a primer in local surfing history.

At one time, the freedom to surf was a hot issue in Delray Beach and Palm Beach County, with lawsuits, landmark legal rulings and ardent debates at City Hall.

The exhibit includes old newspaper clippings focusing on the debate in Delray Beach, where the city’s fathers tried in vain to keep a lid on the sport with surfers and some of their mom’s weighing in with the need to let the kids ride.

Ultimately, the surfers prevailed, but the debate provides a quaint view into a bygone era.

Surfing has a rich history in Florida with the state producing champions who went on to worldwide acclaim.

In addition, it was big business.

Before it became a restaurant haven, Atlantic Avenue was the biggest seller of surf boards in the state and the industry created jobs. Several boards produced in Delray, including the legendary “Richie”,  are on exhibit. They are beautiful works of art.

One surfing pioneer, Ron Heavyside, made his first board in shop class at the old Seacrest High School. He went on to found Nomad Surf Shops which is still in business.

The Surfing History Project hopes to find a permanent home and is modeling itself on a California museum which draws huge crowds. Possibilities include downtown West Palm Beach.

For more information, visit www.surfhistoryproject.com

 

 

FAU Scientists Focus On Macular Degeneration

Research at FAU is focused on saving eyesight.

Research at FAU is focused on saving eyesight.

While oxygen is essential to our planet’s life force and the way we function and stay healthy, high concentrations referred to as oxidative stress may very well be the cause of more than 70 widely-spread diseases such as cancer, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and eye diseases including macular degeneration.

Scientists at Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, as well as the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, have found that sulindac, a known anti-inflammatory drug, can protect against oxidative damage due to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the primary causes of vision loss in the elderly. Their findings were released today in an article titled “Pharmacological protection of retinal pigmented epithelial cells by sulindac involves PPAR-α” in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“What happens in age-related macular degeneration is that the retinal pigmented epithelial or RPE cells, which are essential to nourishing the retinal cells, are damaged by oxidative stress,” said Herbert Weissbach, Ph.D., director and distinguished research professor in the Center for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology within the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. “Our studies show that sulindac can protect RPE cells in culture against oxidative damage, suggesting that it could be an inexpensive and relatively non-toxic therapeutic approach for treating age-related macular degeneration.”

Oxidative stress is mainly due to the imbalance between the free radicals produced within our bodies from the oxygen that we breathe in and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects through neutralization by “antioxidants systems.” This imbalance is the underlying basis of oxidative stress. Oxygen free radicals can also be produced by environmental agents including air pollution, radiation, cigarette smoking, excess stress and increased exposure to sunlight.

Many older people develop macular degeneration as part of the body’s natural aging process. There are different kinds of macular problems, but the most common is age-related macular degeneration. AMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail. AMD gradually destroys sharp, central vision, which is needed for seeing objects clearly and for common daily tasks such as reading and driving. Currently, no cures exist for the majority of age-related macular degeneration cases.

 

Good Morning America To Feature Delray

Good Morning Delray Beach

Good Morning Delray Beach

The public is invited to watch the live airing of ABC’s Good Morning America (GMA) at the Chris Evert-Raymond James Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic on Sunday, November 23, 2014.  The show will film several live segments from the Delray Beach Tennis Center, 201 West Atlantic Avenue, featuring meteorologist Rob Marciano.

In order to be a part of this special event, with a chance to appear in the show’s audience, the public is asked to arrive at the Tennis Center on Sunday, November 23, at 6:15 am.  Guests who arrive between 6:15 am – 6:45 am will receive one (1) complimentary admission ticket for the tennis matches beginning at 11:00 am later that day.

Have some early morning fun at the Chris Evert/Raymond James Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic on Sunday, November 23!  For more information, call (561) 243-7190.

About the Chris Evert/Raymond James Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic
The City of Delray Beach is proud to host the 2014 Chris Evert/Raymond James Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic, November 21-23.  Tennis legend Chris Evert, in association with Broward Health Chris Evert Children’s Hospital, will be joined by renowned athletes and well known celebrities to support at-risk children and families in Palm Beach County and Florida.  Since 1989, Chris Evert Charities has contributed over $21.2 million in an ongoing campaign against drug abuse and child neglect. 

Exciting events are planned for November 21-23 including the Pro-Am Tennis and Lunch with Chrissie & Friends, Classic Cocktail Reception, Pro-Celebrity Gala presented by Esurance and the weekend Tennis Classic.  To purchase tickets, call (561) 394-2400. For schedule of events and additional information, visit www.chrisevert.org.